Introduction: Debriefing is a critical component of effective simulation-based medical education. The optimal format in which to conduct debriefing is unknown. The use of video review has been promoted as a means of enhancing debriefing, and video-assisted debriefing is widely used in simulation training. Few empirical studies have evaluated the impact of video-assisted debriefing, and the results of those studies have been mixed. The objective of this study was to compare the effectiveness of video-assisted debriefing to oral debriefing alone at improving performance in neonatal resuscitation.
Methods: Thirty residents, divided into 15 teams of 2 members each, participated in the study. Each team completed a series of 3 neonatal resuscitation simulations. Each simulation was followed by a facilitated debriefing. Teams were randomly assigned to receive either oral debriefing alone or video-assisted debriefing after each simulation. Objective measures of performance and times to complete critical tasks in resuscitation were evaluated by blinded video review on the first (pretest) and the third (posttest) simulations using a previously validated tool.
Results: Overall neonatal resuscitation performance scores improved in both groups [mean (SD), 83% (14%) for oral pretest vs. 91% (7%) for oral posttest (P = 0.005); 81% (16%) for video pretest vs. 93% (10%) for video posttest (P < 0.001)]. There was no difference in performance scores between the 2 groups on either the pretest or posttest [overall posttest scores, 91.3% for oral vs. 93.4% for video (P = 0.59)]. Times to complete the critical tasks of resuscitation also did not differ significantly between the 2 study groups. The educational effect of the video-assisted debriefing versus oral debriefing alone was small (d = 0.08).
Conclusions: Using this study design, we failed to show a significant educational benefit of video-assisted debriefing. Although our results suggest that the use of video-assisted debriefing may not offer significant advantage over oral debriefing alone, exactly why this is the case remains obscure. Further research is needed to define the optimal role of video review during simulation debriefing in neonatal resuscitation.